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Episode 157: Meeting Your Own Needs as a Mom

May 05, 2022
April Price Coaching
Episode 157: Meeting Your Own Needs as a Mom

Episode Summary

There probably isn’t a job with more responsibility or higher expectations than motherhood. However, our thoughts about our responsibilities as a mom and whether or not we are meeting the expectations of the job can make mothering even harder.

What we sometimes forget is that we are mothering other humans. And those other humans get as much agency and choice as we do.

When we tangle our work and our results as parents with our children’s choices, we can inadvertently put too much pressure on ourselves and our children and this can create strain and pain in our relationships.

In today’s episode of the podcast, I help you see where you may be unknowingly delegating your validation, success, and happiness in motherhood to your children and how to think in a way that allows you to meet your own emotional needs so you can get more joy out of your sacred work as a mother.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.

Hello podcast universe! Welcome to Episode 157 of the 100% Awesome Podcast, I'm April Price, I am so happy to be here with you on the podcast today. I feel like I've been traveling so much, I feel like I have been away from you for so long, even though I know that like these episodes I released like every week. And so for you, there hasn't been a break, but it's been a bit since I have done any recording and so I am excited to be back here with you and recording this message for you.

For many of you in the United States, this coming Sunday is Mother's Day. And I don't know if there's a group of people that are harder on themselves than moms like I don't think there's a group with a harder job, period. And at the same time, I don't think there's a group of people that are harder on themselves about that job, about the job they are doing than moms. And so, you know, I know that I kind of take a week every year right here before Mother's Day to speak to moms and to give you some different thoughts, to think about the work that you are doing and about yourselves, and this year is no different.

Now, if you are not a mom like this still applies because it's all today going to be about how we meet our own needs, how we meet our own emotional needs. And that's important work to do in any kind of relationship we are in, in a friendship, in a marriage, even like as a member of a congregation, to meet your own emotional needs as an employee. So, there are so many applications for it, and so I'm going to be speaking today specifically to moms and to that that the thoughts that they have. But it applies to any of us who are in a relationship with anybody else, okay?

So, to start, I want to kind of just acknowledge the problem that all of us face as mothers. So, the other day, I was texting with my daughter. We have a mutual friend that just had a baby and she was just talking about like, you know, those those first early days, like how scared you feel, how insecure you feel like this brand new baby is here and like it's up to you to keep it alive, you know? And I was just saying, like, oh, my gosh, like, motherhood is so hard, right? And I, I texted her and I said, here's the thing about being a mom, you would give your life for your child, but at the same time, you know, your own inadequacy is their biggest threat. And it just rips you open at every age, and that is so true, right? Like you would do anything for these children. They are so precious to you. There is nothing you love more. You would give everything for them. But at the same time you are so aware of your own shortcomings and failings and you know that the biggest threat in their life is you. The mistakes that you might make, the things that you don't know is the many ways that you're going to get it wrong. And it just tears you up, it just rips you open, whether they're a brand new newborn or, you know, that you're trying to navigate the early days of elementary school, or junior high. For heaven's sakes, junior high, right?

And then, like, you know, high school, and young adulthood, and marriage, and like you're always their mother and there is always, you know, deep down this thought that, like, I didn't do it right. I have left you like, vulnerable. I did not measure up, and therefore you will suffer. This is the primary thought of every mother, right? And I want to speak to that today. I understand how you feel and I understand how much you love your children and at the same time how inadequate you feel. However, I want you to think differently about yourself, even about your inadequacies, and that's what we're going to do today.

And I want to start by just noticing that when it comes to mothering, right? We have a very difficult job. And for the most part, we have delegated our grade on that job to all the other people in our lives, all right? Like we are trying to decide whether or not we've done a good job in order to make that decision, we look outside of ourselves, we look to our partner, we look to our husband, we look to our children. We look to our friends, our neighbors. Again, the people that we go to church with to try and decide whether or not we are good at this job. And I think that is mostly because when we greet ourselves like we are so hard on ourselves, we give ourselves such failing mark's, right? That we feel so bad after that evaluation that we have to look to other people for validation or, you know, just give up, right? Like we are always constantly giving ourselves failing grades as mothers.

And so naturally, like that feels so terrible that we start to look outside of ourselves for some validation that we are at least like doing a good enough job. And the trouble with this is that we are expecting other people to do a job that we aren't doing for ourselves, right? We are not validating ourselves, in fact, we are belittling ourselves. We are making ourselves wrong left and right. And then, we are expecting other people to step in and do this job for us, make us feel good about the work we're doing as mothers and the other people in our lives are, frankly terrible at it, they can't possibly understand. What it's like to do the job, and then and yet we're asking them, like, to give us, all the validation and appreciation for our work, right? And honestly, they are all just trying to manage their own lives, their own insecurities, their own problems, and the way to feel better about your mothering and the way to alleviate the tension in your relationships is to meet your own needs.

And so, I'm going to talk to you today, about how I meet my own needs as a mother. And I know at first when I say that, you might think like, oh, great. Like, there's one more thing that I got to do, right? I got to take care of everybody else, I got to do all the things, and I have to, like, take care of my own needs, too, right? And we're kind of like mad about that, right? We kind of think like, I don't need one more thing to do. But the reason for this truly is that we are, in fact, the only ones that can do that. And this will become clear as we go along throughout this podcast, right? Remember, how we feel about our lives, about ourselves is always based on our thoughts. And it's no different when it comes to our mothering, right? How we feel about our mothering, how we feel about this work that we're doing comes down to our thoughts about it and our thoughts alone. And that is why we are the only ones who can do this work.

So, I think that it will become more clear over the course of this podcast why it is always and only your job to validate and appreciate and acknowledge the work that you are doing as a mom. Okay, so I just want to start with the premise that, we always start with that it is our thoughts making us feel good or bad about anything, right? It is our thoughts creating our feelings, and that, of course, is no different when it comes to mothering. How we feel about our mothering is created in our own minds, by our own thoughts. If we feel insecure or if we feel shame or regret or inadequacy, if we feel appreciated, if we feel valuable, if we feel proud, it is always because of our thoughts. Now, I know it doesn't, feel like that, right? It feels like that.

This is kind of like if I feel good about my mothering, it sort of feels outside of us. It feels like I need other people to tell me that I'm doing good or I need other people to behave. I need my children to behave in a way that lets me know that I'm doing a good job, right? But all of that is an interpretation. When somebody says something or somebody behaves a certain way, I have to interpret that, and I it creates a thought for me that then creates my feeling about my mothering. And for so many of us, not only are the things that other people say and the things that other people do, you know, triggering thoughts for us about our mothering.

But we also have like a huge list of expectations, that have been given to us by society, by our church, by our own mother, by by the media. Like we have a whole list of things in our mind that make good mothers and that make bad mothers, right? And we are constantly comparing ourselves to this list, and we all have a list, and like when you go to church on Sunday, like that list is going to get longer. You're going to sit in those meetings and somebody is going to tell you something about their mother and you're going to add that to your list, right? And then you're going to compare yourself to that list. And for the most part, when we go to compare ourselves to the list of what makes a good mother, most every one of us falls short. And what I want find that makes us feel terrible, right? And what I want you to know is that the list is created by our thoughts.

First of all, everything on that list, what makes a good mother? What makes a bad mother? What I should be doing. What I shouldn't be doing? All of that is a thought, right, given to us by somebody else or, you know, created in our own mind a thought by which we are basing ourselves. And then our evaluation of our efforts and our work in these areas is also based on our thoughts of ourselves. And so, we have all these thoughts in our head, and all of it is made up in that they are all just optional thoughts. And that doesn't mean that any of that list is wrong, but it means that there is not like one definitive empirical statement on your motherhood and whether or not you are good at it. But it is all just a judgment call on your part. You have thoughts, and then from those thoughts you make a judgment about your mothering.

And I just want you to know that, of course, you can make whatever call you want. You can make whatever judgment call you want about your mothering. But it's important to know that whatever you decide, whatever you decide, I'm a good mother, I'm a bad mother, whatever thought you choose, that thought will create your results. Every result in our life is a result of a thought, we think. And if I believe I am a bad mother, that's going to show up in one way or another in my result lying. So, I want to use an example outside of mothering so that you can kind of see this. I used to have the thought that I'm bad with money, when I'm bad with money. Do you know what I don't do? I don't take care of my money the way they should, right? I don't like reign in my spending, I don't think about my purchases, I don't like look at my bills or pay attention to my debts or my savings rate. I ignore all of it, I hide from it, I feel shame about it. And I want you to know that your shame about your mothering is doing way more damage.

To your relationships than your actual mistakes, right? Because when we feel shame, we hide, we withdraw, we fall into sort of a shame blame cycle. Like we like fall into shame, which, like we make ourselves wrong. We feel terrible about it, and then like that, we can only do that for so long before we feel a little bit of blame come up. Because like to get a break from shame, we need to blame. So, sometimes we blame our children that they need to be different or we blame our husband that he should be helping more. We blame our mother in law or, you know, somebody else for the way that our children are turning out. Because like we, we have shamed ourselves for it and made ourselves wrong. And so, when we think I'm bad at this or my kids deserve better. Like we are going to create so much shame that it's actually going to like create more withdrawal and more disconnection in our relationships then believing that I am the exact mother I should be. So, that's just really important to know at the outset that my thoughts about my mothering are just that they are thoughts they are made up and they will create my results.

And so, what I need to do is to look at the results they are creating. How am I showing up in these relationships? Am I hiding? Am I disconnecting? Am I shaming myself or blaming them? Then the thoughts I'm believing about my mothering are not serving me. They aren't helping me have the relationships I want to have. I think it's so important that you decide on purpose how you are going to think about yourself as a mother, because that is going to be the result that you will create for yourself.

Okay, so with that in mind, I want to give you three thoughts today to like help change your mind about the job you're doing as a mother. I'm like when I offer to you that like thinking you are a bad mother is just a thought. I know that some of you were like, yeah, but it's also true. And like, we really struggle to replace that thought or we really struggle to think that we're a good mom. Or we think like, I can't think that right? Then I'll just like, I'll continue to be terrible at this and I'll just be delusional about being good at it. But the opposite is true. Believing you are good at the job changes the way that you show up in the relationship, believing you are the exact mother for your children changes the way you show up with them, believing that like you are perfect in all your inadequacies and all your weaknesses and all your strengths, and that they need both changes the way you show up in those relationships.

And so, I just want you to know at the outset that you are allowed to think you are a good mother. And actually it is the best thing you can do for your relationship. It is the best thing you can do for your children is do like validate yourself. Okay so, I want to give you three thoughts to help you think about your mothering a little bit different so that you can access the thought that you're good at it. So, the first one is to let everyone be responsible for their own results. So, I'm going to give you a little story and then I want to explain this.

So, the other day, my youngest son, Ethan, he's 18, he's about to graduate, he's about to leave home. And he had kind of an opportunity. I won't like get to all the details, but he had an opportunity to, like, stand up and be a good guy, and I got a text that day after he did this thing where he was just, you know, he was a good guy. And one of his siblings said, you know, you raised him right. Good job, mom or dad. And then, I had a friend from church who just sent me a text. And said, Hey, you guys did a good job with him. And in that moment I knew the truth, which is that Ethan is 100% responsible for the results he creates when he shows up in his life.

In a way that is good and honorable and like when he is a good guy, that is all because of his choices. And, you know, so many times we want to make ourselves responsible for our children's results, whether they're good, whether they're bad, right? We want to, like, claim responsibility for their results. And one of the most powerful things that you can do is extract yourself from your children's results, whatever they are. So, every result in our life is created by our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and our results. And that is true not only for you, but it is true for your children as well. It turns out that you only show up in the circumstance line of your children's model. You are just their parent. You offer words. You offer teachings. You offer like love and encouragement. You offer all of these things. But these are just the circumstances.

They are on their own path to learn and grow at their own rate and create their own results. And there is so much relief and freedom and understanding who is responsible for everyone's results. This applies not only to like letting your children be responsible for their results and not taking ownership of that. But it works the opposite way as well. Your children are not responsible for your results as a parent. Like so many times, we're like, I will know the result. I will know that I am a good parent. That will be the result if they behave in a certain way. But this is not true. Our results in our parenting will be created by our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and our results. And so many times it creates so much pain when we make our children's actions mean something about our results as a parent. The greatest gift that you can give your children is to own your own results as a parent.

Like independent of their choices, independent of their actions. Your results are only a result of your actions, not theirs. And if we don't make them responsible for our results in. Parenthood, right? By the way, they live their lives. There is so much less pressure and tension in that relationship. Okay, so another really good example of this is, you know, I remember when my kids were little and my kids would say, like, what do you want to have? You know, what do you want to get for Mother's Day? What do you want for Mother's Day, Mom? And I would always say something like, I just want everyone to get along. I just want no fighting, right? And notice how, like, that sounds so good.

But it what I'm saying is, I want you all to behave and to make choices. So that I can then feel good about the job I'm doing, right? Like, I'm wanting your action line to validate me as a mother and to, like, create results for me. And I there I am thinking, like, if you cannot fight and if you can make choices in your life, then I can feel good about the job I'm doing. And so many times this is what we're doing in our in our parenting relationships. We're making our children's choices mean things about the job we did, and that is not fair. They came to choose. They came to think thoughts, to choose those thoughts, to feel feelings and to take action. And they can only be responsible for their own result line. If Ethan has to go and, like, perform in a certain way so that I can feel okay about my mothering, that's, like, way too much pressure on him. Like, he cannot have that burden delegated to him. It was never his job to create my results as a mother.

My results are created by my choices, not his. A really good, easy way to see this is to look at God, right? His results, as our Heavenly Father are not dependent on our choices. He's making anything available to us. But he cannot like his results as a father. Whether or not he did a good job can never be based on our choices. It's too much pressure on us, and it makes him too vulnerable as God, it just doesn't work that way. Every one of us has been given agency and your children are no different. Okay, then going along with that, like letting everyone have their own results, letting everybody be responsible for their own results. The next thing I want to say is let your children feel how they want.

So, this is like so many times, I think like in a well-meaning way. We want our children to love and appreciate us, but this is not well-meaning, right? It's a form of manipulation, trying to have our children feel things that are 100% up to them. I want you to know that your children have preferences and they may have preferences even about their, parents, even about their mothers, and that's okay, right? I want you to think about, like yourself. Just like as like a movie choice, right? And they're like, you know what? I really prefer musicals. You know what? I really prefer horror films, right? And so many times we take their preferences of how they want us to be personally like that. Like, if they don't love us, if they don't appreciate us, then something has gone wrong. Like they're not feeling the right thing. Or that we haven't performed in a way to make them feel the right thing. Again, this is just so much pressure your children get to choose, including how they feel about you. And it doesn't make you bad, whatever feelings they choose.

There is so much freedom in releasing your loved ones to choose their feelings about you. And here's the thing they are going to do it anyway. Every one of them is going to choose those feelings anyway, but it releases the pressure like they need that. Like that undercurrent of need that I need them to feel a certain way in order to feel okay about me. Again, the perfect example is our Heavenly Father, right? He doesn't need us to love him, he just loves us unconditionally and he doesn't need us to love him, to validate him, to, like, make him whole in any way. He lets us feel how we want and he understands that isn't about him. It's about our preferences, about what we think about, like how we think he should be doing his job. Okay, but he doesn't make that mean that he's not doing it correctly.

And you might be saying, well, like, that's great, he's God. So, he knows he's doing it right, but I don't know that I'm doing it right. I want you to know that however you're doing it is exactly, right? You were never supposed to be God. You were never supposed to be a perfect parent. You were always supposed to be imperfect. That's why he sent your children to you, because he knew that you would be imperfect in the exact ways that they needed you to be. All right? So, let your children feel how they want, and then you do the work of loving you. You do the work of appreciating you.

Okay so, that brings me to the last thing that I want to say, and that is to let yourself define your success as a parent, as a mother. Let your self define what it means to be successful at this and then let yourself validate yourself. So, it's so important that you decide what it means to be successful and to make sure that all of those things are things within your control. So let me give you an example. I was talking to a young mother once early on in my coaching business, and I said, you know, what does it mean to be a good mom to you? Like, how would you know that that you were successful at that? And she said, Well, you know, I think it means that my kids would be happy and healthy.
And I was like, you know, that sounds so good, right? Like, my kids could be happy and healthy, then I would know that I had done a good job as a mother. That, like, sounds so good. But here's the thing neither of those things are in your control. Happiness is a choice each one of your children are going to choose, and even their health is largely outside of your control, right. That's mostly God's business, okay? Now, you can affect the circumstance line there a little bit, but there's so much of that, their happiness and their health, which is 100% like outside of your control.

And if I am basing my success as a parent on things that are outside of my control, I think I'm in trouble, right? Again, if I'm basing my success as a parent, as on whether or not they love me and they appreciate me or they think I'm a good mom again, like I'm in a really vulnerable spot. These are all things that I cannot control. So, you want to define your success based on things that you control? And then you have to do the work to acknowledge when you notice yourself like meeting those expectations and validate that nobody else is going to notice, nobody else is going validate you.

So, the other day I was talking to a client and she, like me, was a bishop's wife. So, she said, you know, I just feel like I'm like such a bad bishop's wife. And I was like, I like you guys already know. Like, I had that thought as well, right? And I asked her, well, like, what's a good bishop's wife? And she, like, had a big a long list, right? Like, they're spiritual giants. They, like, speak up in testimony, meaning they like, you know, everybody in the world looks up to them spiritually, like she had this whole long list, right? And I was like, so much of it was like the thoughts that other people would have about her, right? They would think she's a spiritual giant, they would look up to her, right. And these are all things that she has zero control over. And we finally got to the place where I was like what if your only job is to love the bishop? Like, that's something you can control, right?

Like, I can't control what other people think of me, I can't control how other people perceive me. But I can control how much I love the bishop. And that's what it came down to, right? And in so many ways, like, I love this thought for your mothering. Like, what if my success as a mother is simply based on, like, I'm supposed to love these children. That's the job is to love these children and teach them the things that are important to me. But notice like that doesn't mean they're going to learn them, and it doesn't mean that they're going to choose to feel loved even. And it doesn't mean that they're going to love me back. The job for me is to love them as they are and teach them the things that are important to me.

And I have decided, like, that is what I'm like measuring my success by. And I even go so far as to notice that, like, some of my success will be my failures. Some of my success as a mother will be where I failed, where I didn't meet my children's needs, where I created struggle and hardship for them, because for sure, that is part of their learning and earth life experience. And what if some of my success as a mother is my failure? And that's exactly why Heavenly Father, like, made me the mother of these children, because he was like, I know you're going to fail at this part, and that's exactly what your children need. Now, you may think that this is just totally delusional, right? Like, I'm just trying to feel good about a crappy job that I'm doing. But the truth is, I become and show up such a better mother when I believe that I'm doing it right, when I believe that I'm doing the best I know to love my children and stretching myself in that area when I believe that sometimes I don't get it right. And that's exactly what my children need. And I get to try it again.

What matters is the result. Do I show up in a connected way in this relationship when I believe that I'm doing a good job? Or is it the opposite? Am I withdrawing? Am I hiding? Am I shaming and blaming them because of my negative thoughts about myself as a mother? The greatest gift you can give your children is to stop delegating your emotional needs, your validation to them. Your feelings are created by your thoughts, which means it matters the way you think about yourself and the way you think about your mothering.

And if you're giving that job to them, they can feel the pressure and the burden of that. And listen, it doesn't make you wrong. I did that for two decades, it was part of my learning experience. It was part of my children's learning experience. And it's all right, but now that I know differently, I try as much as possible to meet my own emotional needs, to let my children be responsible for their results and not make their actions say anything about mine. To let my children feel how they want, even about me. And then to define for myself what it means to be successful as a mother and to do the emotional, nurturing and validation and appreciation that I need. Mothering truly is the hardest job in the world, but we make it so much harder when we make ourselves wrong in it. When I decided to believe that I am the best mother for my children exactly as I am, this job got so fun that my friends is 100% awesome. I love you for listening and I will see you next week.

Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you want to take the things I've talked about and apply them in your life so that you can love your Earth life experience. Sign up for a free coaching session at April prize coaching dot com. This is where the real magic happens and your life starts to change forever. As your coach, I'll show you that believing your life is 100% awesome is totally available to every one of us. The way things are is not the way things have to stay. And that, my friends is 100% awesome.


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